Many people think that a small bad can be canceled out if they perform a small good. For example, there are some people that believe they can leave their lights on if they drive a hybrid. The wasteful energy being used by the lights are being offset by the more environment-friendly hybrid.
In a study performed in the U.K, a group of researchers investigated these ideas of “compensatory green beliefs”. Some statements that people agreed with were “It is okay to leave the lights on if you use low-energy light bulbs” and “Not driving a car compensates for flying on holiday”, which had the most percent of agreement, 16.2%. However, the researchers also believe these numbers to be smaller than reality because some people have a hesitation to mark their real mindset if it could be taken in a bad way publicly.
Though these numbers cannot totally translate over to the public opinion of the United States, it gives a good estimate about the mindset in the U.S. Many people believe that scales can be balanced if one does a good after a little bad. If that were to happen with green energy initiatives, their effectiveness would greatly decrease. Mainly, people have these beliefs because a bad environment is not staring them in the face. Regardless, it’s not a good mindset to have because U.S would never change its course towards an unhealthy environment unless it realizes the consequences. If many people did believe in global warming, public policy would follow with them, and a grander scale of environmental recovery could start.